The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine will meet for a second time today (Wednesday, November 9) to discuss a range of farm schemes with farm organisation representatives and Teagasc.

The meeting will take place in Committee Room 3, beginning at 5:30p.m this evening, and is scheduled to end at 8:30p.m.

The schemes that will be discussed include the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS); The Organic Farming Scheme (OFS); the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP); the Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme (BEEP); and the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS).

The meeting will be divided into two sessions.

The first is set to end at 7:30p.m, and will feature representatives form the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA); the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA); the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA); the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA); and Macra.

The second session, until 8:30p.m, will hear from Teagasc represenatives.

This will be the second meeting of the committee today.

This afternoon, Minister of State with responsibility for land use and biodiversity Pippa Hackett will discuss the impact of peat shortages on the Irish horticulture industry when she appears before the committee.

The minister is due to address members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine about the ongoing issue at 1:30p.m.

Minister Hackett previously expressed concern for growers in the horticulture sector due to peat shortages, saying she wanted to “explore all options”.

However, the minister has also said that, notwithstanding this, peat extraction “must stop”.

Last month, groups representing the Irish horticulture sector presented the committee with recommendations to ensure sufficient supply of Irish horticultural peat.

They said that peatlands under 30ha should be treated as an individual bog, while on bigger sites a sub-30ha area should be permitted for harvesting horticultural peat, provided the remainder is set aside for restoration.

The groups estimated that an area of 1,500ha, less than 0.1% of Irish peatlands, is required to provide the sector with domestic supplies during the transition to peat-free alternatives.